I know that right now the hot topic is patch 4.2, the upcoming Firelands raid and the datamined tier 12 set bonuses, but I won't be talking about the shaman set bonuses. Matt Low has already covered all the healer-centric set bonuses, and like him, I feel that the shaman bonuses are either placeholders or still in their infancy and will likely change well before release.
This week, we are going to continue talking about raiding as a restoration shaman in Cataclysm. Just as in part 1 of our series, we will be following what is considered the order of easiest to hardest bosses. There will be emphasis on what you need to know as a raiding restoration shaman for these fights.
Just as in part 1, this is not intended to be an all-inclusive raid boss guide. Please check out Ready Check and the WoW Insider Guide to Cataclysm for more detailed information. We will do a brief overview of the bosses, as well as some tips and tricks for restoration shaman.
The encounter Halfus is just beside himself with joy at being the one that greets you as the first boss in the Bastion of Twilight. The fight is divided into what is essentially two phases. As you enter the Ettin's roost, you will notices various dragons chained up around the place; I assure you this is not by choice. There are four drakes and one pack of whelps; three of these are active on any given week. The drakes that are active each provide passive boosts to Halfus' abilities while they remain alive. Your raids job is to free them, kill them to remove their buff from Halfus and release them from their imprisonment -- this is your phase 1. The drakes are as follows:
- Slate Dragon grants Halfus Malevolent Strikes, which builds stacks on the tank and reduces healing like a Mortal Strike.
- Nether Scion grants Halfus Frenzied Assault, which increases the giant's attack speed by 100%.
- Time Warden enables Fireball Barrage, which unleashes a stream of fiery death from the Proto-Behemoth at a random raid member.
- Orphaned Emerald Whelps allow the Proto-Behemoth to use Scorching Breath and in their own right can be a pain just by the sheer number of them.
- Storm Rider grants Halfus Shadow Nova, causing massive AoE damage with a knockback component.
In phase 2, Halfus gains Furious Roar, which deals raid-wide damage, knocks players to the ground, and pulses three times. Each pulse is close enough that you can only really have time to cast instants like Riptide, or move. Rely on HR to do its job and Healing Stream Totem to pick up the slack when this happens, and make sure you're shuffling your feet out of the fire. Keep your eyes peeled and move when applicable, and you'll convince both heads to take the long dirt nap in no time.
The reward A fight with this much going on better give up the goods, right? Well, Halfus does have a few things restoration shaman may be interested in.
The encounter These dragons of various shades of violet violence will be the second bosses to greet you in the Bastion of Twilight. The fight is divided into two phases; you will only face one dragon at a time, and both dragons share a health total.
In phase 1, you will face Valiona on the ground while Theralion takes to the air. Valiona will use two abilities here, Blackout and Devouring Flames. Blackout will cause massive damage when cleansed or when the debuff timer wears out and is distributed among all players close to the target. Devouring Flames should be familiar to you if you've done Grim Batol. Make use of HR and group heals to easily deal with this damage, and don't stand in the fire. I also find that a Spirit Link Totem can help mitigate that Blackout damage pretty well, so keep that on hand just in case.
During this phase, Theralion will constantly blast the raid with Twilight Blast, and you should make sure you are at least 8 yards away from anyone around you. After a couple of rotations of these abilities, the dragons will cast Dazzling Destruction and begin the transition to phase 2. Avoid the swirling pink circles because if you touch them, they will transport you into the Twilight Realm, which is an unpleasant place. Use Spiritwalker's Grace to heal and move. This is especially handy if you notice the tank taking a lot of damage while running from the swirling circles, because you wont have to stop to cast your big heals. If you are unlucky and you land in the twilight realm, make your way to the swirling portal and make sure not to touch anything glowing or death-like.
In phase 2, Valiona takes to the air and Theralion takes a stab at you. There are a few things to look out for here in this phase; first of all is Engulfing Magic. The debuff increases your damage and healing done by 100% but causes you to deal shadow damage equal to your damage or healing done to anyone within 10 yards of you. Move away and top off tanks or DPS as needed. If you're running Telluric Currents and you get this debuff, feel free to unload some Lightning Bolts on the boss for some very nice mana regeneration. Also look out for Fabulous Flames, which will show itself as a giant purple circle of death that deals constant damage every second. Simply don't stand in it. Watch where they are in case you need to move away from the group when you get Engulfing Magic.
Not to be left out of the fun, Valiona will still contribute to this fight, throwing down Twilight Meteorites that deal massive damage divided among everyone within 6 yards. Group up when targeted and be ready for some snap group healing. Our flying villain will also cast Deep Breath, which will bathe one-third of the room in fire, dealing a large amount of damage and teleporting anyone affected by it to the Twilight Realm. Unlike Onyxia, Valiona only Deep Breathes three times. Shockingly enough, you avoid this by not standing in the fire. She will telegraph what part of the room that will be fired up, so just avoid that part. This ability will also mark the transition back into phase 1, as after Valiona makes three passes, they will land and Theralion will take flight again.
The process repeats until the dragons are dead. This fight is more about situational awareness than anything else. As a healer, just make sure you're giving yourself enough time to be able to sit and cast your heals. Avoid standing in bad and don't get healer tunnel vision, and you will have a brand new set of dragon skins to add to your collection in no time.
The reward Once the Double Dragons have been defeated, you might walk away with some very nice healing swag. Unleash Elements liberally for an extra healing boost throughout any fight.
Next week, we'll continue with some very gassy bosses. Very ... gassy.
Totem Talk: Restoration will show you the basics of endgame resto shaman play as well as how to find the expansion's best reputation gear for resto shaman and tips for easier leveling. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!